by Matt Fischer
The XFL is back and starting over. Gone are a lot of the gimmicks and sensationalism of the XFL seen nearly 20 years ago.
Vince McMahon has promised the new XFL will be “football reimagined”. He’s proven to provide what an audience wants as he’s built the WWE into a global success. Can he build a football league that will last this time?
Ideas for the XFL
Mr. McMahon, I’m an idea guy and have some for you and the XFL. I gave some in my Return of the XFL article but want to expand on them now.
Let’s start with where teams should be located. From the announcement, I assume there will be two divisions/conferences. Here are my XFL teams for 2020.
-Atlanta Blaze – The city has become the de facto football capital of the South. With bowl games and the SEC championship game it dominates the college scene and with a new stadium for the Falcons this is a great spot to launch the league.
-Chicago Knights – huge market in Big Ten country where football is king.
-New York Barons – the nation’s biggest market is a must.
-St. Louis Stag – has a NFL stadium that’s sitting empty. The Rams didn’t leave because of lack of interest. The league can build the Chicago vs. St. Louis rivalry right from the start.
-Oakland Renegades – will be losing the Raiders to Vegas so a stadium will be empty and fans will be hungry for football.
-San Antonio Wranglers – the city has flirted with NFL teams previously. Interest is there. XFL would be smart to put a team here. You’ve got to have a team in Texas.
-San Diego Rhinos – lost the Chargers but fans still love football.
-Las Vegas Jackals – Sin City is just waiting on pro football to come back (XFL was there before). The Raiders are coming but the XFL would be wise to try to get into the market and keep football going beyond the NFL season.
Teams, Coaches and Players for XFL
In choosing coaches and players, you look for guys who can bring personality and some name recognition to the league. It’ll need some people who can grab attention and provide sound bites to keep the league in the news week after week.
Also, I have former NFL and college football head coaches. The XFL will need to attract players that have shown the ability to become pro’s but aren’t NFL Draft eligible yet and guys who are trying to make NFL rosters. Having a mix of coaches who’ve dealt with college and pro players will help the league get off to a good start. Rex Ryan, Les Miles, Jim Mora Jr. would be on my list of potential XFL coaches.
What players will be available in 2020? The XFL will want to get players that aren’t just names but can still play football. Tim Tebow, Jonny Manziel, Colin Kaepernick would all garner attention but if they haven’t played in years, will they be effective? Can one of them be the new XFL’s Tommy Maddox?
Broadcasting the XFL
I love the 2 hour time frame especially if games are in primetime. You can truly gather an audience and keep them locked in. With NFL games running over 3 hours, even 3 and a half, it’s quite a time commitment.
2 Hour XFL Game Ideas:
- 1 minute of commercials only after scoring plays. There is no break in the game after change of possession otherwise.
- The clock runs regardless of play. The clock doesn’t stop when someone goes out of bounds or an incomplete pass.
- The play clock is 20 seconds. This will keep the action going and keep the audience engaged.
XFL Pre-Game and Post-Game Show:
Like I mentioned in my earlier article, the league should stray from how networks broadcast the NFL now.
NFL pregame shows have become unwatchable. It’s a bunch of predictable former players and coaches blabbing on and on about nothing important.
I’d keep one “expert” whether a former pro player or coach with the host but put a celebrity or fan to pick against him weekly like ESPN’s College Gameday does.
A gambling segment should be included. I’d go after Brent Musburger of VSiN and have him do a breakdown before the game and after related to betting on the games. He could talk trends and with an expert before the game picking sides. After the game, he could review the plays that impacted the point spread and total on the game.
These shows should each be 30 minutes. Keep the content relevant and moving so fans don’t get bored. Suck them in with the content they want to consume and the XFL will be a success!
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